Top 10 Tips For Choosing The Right Celebrant

Congratulations, you are engaged and there are exciting times ahead!

What to do first? Enjoy the celebration of engagement and the joy of knowing you are spending the rest of your life with the person you love! Give yourself time to absorb this precious moment in time.

Then, when you are ready, I suggest you think about three things: your celebrant, your venue, and your band, in that order.

Why your celebrant first? Your wedding ceremony is the most important part of your day, it is the purpose of your celebration, planning, and hard work. It’s the reason why family and friends from around the world will join to witness your ‘I Do’.  

Please give your ceremony the attention it deserves! Here are my ‘Top 10 Tips For Choosing The Right Celebrant!’

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CONNECTION  – Your ceremony is a very special and intimate time, so it’s important you trust your celebrant and feel a connection to them. You need to feel they understand the story you want to tell, and will find the best way to tell it.

YOUR CEREMONY, YOUR STORY  – Your love story is unique, as your ceremony should be. Ask your celebrant do they work from a template or are they going to tell your story, in a language you understand and in a way that has meaning to you.

INITIAL CONTACT  – Always speak with your celebrant either in person, by phone or via a Zoom chat before making your booking or any payment. You should always be given the opportunity to ask any questions and understand the process before making a decision.

BOOKINGS PER DAY – Ask your celebrant how many ceremonies they perform a day. Its best if it’s just the one. Some book in several weddings, if this is the case, ensure there is plenty of time between ceremonies to allow for any delays.

CHOICE – I encourage you to speak with a number of different celebrants, this helps to understand their background and beliefs, and to know that they are inline with yours.

CONTENT – Keep a ceremony diary. When you come across a reading or poem, a piece of music or a ceremony element, jot it down and bring it to your first celebrant meeting. This really helps your celebrant to set the tone for your day. Remember your ceremony is a creative process that you are very much a part of.

COST – Before booking, ask what the total ceremony cost will be, including any travel fees.

LOCATION –  Check whether your celebrant is happy to work in the environment you have chosen – on a hill side, island, beach, restaurant or anywhere else you fancy! If your ceremony is on location, ask your celebrant if they have microphones and battery powered speakers. Any outdoor ceremony over 10 to 15 people requires amplified sound.

LENGTH Ask how long your ceremony will be and if there are any time restrictions.

DON’T RUSH – Your ceremony sets the tone for your wedding day, so treat it with the respect it deserves!! Don’t rush your plans and be careful not to focus only on your reception. Your celebrant should work with you to ensure your celebration is one of a kind and unforgettable!

If you are planning your wedding ceremony and would like to have an informal chat, please feel free to give me a call on +353877813594 or email hello@thecivilcelebrant.ie

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Naming Ceremony Elements

Ceremony elements can be included in your ceremony, but it’s important to say, a ceremony is just as beautiful with no elements.

A quick search on Pinterest will provide endless options! Here are some ideas to get started!

Time Capsule – Family members collect significant objects and place them in a time capsule to be opened on a set date. 

Scrapbook – Family and friends are invited to write a message in a scrapbook; to bring photos of the parents when they were young, or bring their favourite song or poem. 

Tree Planting – Soil is collected from the grandparents gardens and added to a sapling, then the guardians water the soil as a symbol of the commitment to support the child as they grow. The tree is then planted in your place of choice.

Letter Box – Parents, family and friends write a letter to the child and they are secured in a box to open at a later date. The box can be secured with ribbons of significant meaning. 

Sand Ceremony – Different colour sands are mixed to symbolise the parent and guardians values and hope for the child’s future values. It represents inclusion of the new child into the family.

Hand Prints on Canvas – The child’s name is written in vinyl letters and stuck to a large canvas.  Family and friends use different coloured paints to make a hand print on the canvas.  When dry, the letters are removed and the child name will appear surrounded by family and friends!

Earth, Air, Fire and Water – Stones or glass pebbles are placed in a clear glass bowl or vase, to represent the earth, and water is then included. Sitting on the stones is a candle to represent fire. All guests blow the child a kiss, to represent air. The celebrant explains the meaning behind the different elements.

Fire – Vigorousness, zeal, enthusiasm, courage, decisiveness, power of creativity, daring 

Air – Vigilance, care-freedom, kind-heartedness, trusting nature, clarity, lightness, independency, dexterity, optimism, diligence, acuity, joy, smiling

Water – Understanding, placidity, mildness, trusting nature, devotion, mercy,  forgiveness, modesty, compassion.

Earth – Consistency, conscientiousness, perseverance, punctuality, caution, resistance, responsibility, carefulness, firmness, reliability, sobriety, ambition, respectfulness, matter-of-factness.

A Special Message from Olivia and Sami

We had the pleasure of having the wonderful Simone as our celebrant for our baby’s naming day ceremony. Even now after three years people still talk about the ceremony and how personal and intimate it was. Many of our guests had never attended a naming day before and they thought it was so beautiful and felt Simone had made it so personal and special for us as parents but also included our guests. Simone is truly gifted at what she does and we are so happy we found her and would highly recommend to any future parents you will not be disappointed! Thanks again Simone, Olivia and Sami

Caroline and Gavin at The Village Barn

The ceremony was more than we could have hoped for – we loved it!  So many people came up to us on the day and since then to let us know how much they enjoyed it.  My parents have never been to a civil ceremony and they couldn’t get over how personal it was, they loved every bit of it.  Loads of people who have been to similar ceremonies said it was superior to anything they’d been to before, that it was so relaxed and meaningful and that you are so good at your job!  

Thank you again, I can honestly say that the ceremony was a huge highlight of our day.

Caroline and Tomás

Photography by Aidan Oliver

Arriving early is very important, this way I have plenty of time to speak with guests who have a role in the ceremony, and most importantly, chat with the bride and groom to settle any list minute concerns.

Caroline and Tomas celebrated their wedding in The Village Barn, Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath

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R&R at Ashford Lodge

Ruth & Ross

Photography by the very lovely Moathill Photography

Dear Simone,

I’m not sure how to start this email without getting overwhelmed. Last Saturday was the most beautiful day of my life & you were an instrumental part of making it so.

We told you that we first saw you at our friend’s wedding last Spring & commented on how beautiful you made the ceremony. We thought you knew the boys! It was so touching and personal.

And then we met you for our wedding. Simone, you treated us like we were the most important couple that you had ever met. Like ours was the only ceremony you would ever perform. Like fulfilling our dream meant fulfilling yours.

I’m overwhelmed by each and every personal touch. From the remembrance candles to the vows and ribbons, to how you weaved what we told you about the people in our ceremony, to how you told our story, to how you carefully minded our kids, it was all so simply beautiful and unique. Thank you.

And to then get the gift of the ribbons & the cert the next morning, blew me away.

Thank you again Simone. My favourite decision was choosing you to be our celebrant.

With the warmest regards & love, R&R. X X

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Sarah and Robert at the Mill House

I advise couples to choose a celebrant they connect with.  Someone they feel instantly at ease with.  When I first met Sarah and Robert the roles were reversed!  I was captivated by their story, and I knew right away, theirs was a story I could not wait to tell! <3

Sarah and Robert celebrated their wedding in the historic Mill House, Slane, Co Meath.  They chose a handfasting ceremony using coloured ribbons that held deep meaning for them and their guests.

Thank you so much for being part of our wedding day. You made everything so easy and stress-free. Your professionalism, warmth, and creativity knows no bounds. You blew us away with the ceremony you created for our big day and practically all of our guests commented on how gorgeous it really was. It was the best day of our lives but the ceremony was definitely the highlight and that’s thanks to you. Thanks for all your patience and guidance – Sarah and Robert

The Mill House.jpg
The Mill House – Courtesy of Annie Kheffache Photography

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